Thali Menu #132 – Kashmir | Winter Foods
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent, it has been described by famous Persian poet Amir Khusru “as a paradise on earth”, also called the ‘Switzerland of the East’.
Historically, Kashmir became known worldwide when Cashmere wool was exported globally. Kashmiris are adept at knitting and making Pashmina shawls, silk carpets, rugs, kurtas, and pottery. Saffron, too, is cultivated and exported from Kashmir. The region is also known for its silver-work, papier-mâché, wood-carving, and the weaving of silk.
‘Kashur khyon’ or Kashmiri Cuisine is influenced by its geographical position, cultural, religious traditions. Wazwan is a multi-course feast and is synonymous with Kashmiri Cuisine.
‘Zaika-e-Kashmir’ – ‘Tastes of Kashmir’
The region offers a wide array of food items, particularly authentic non-veg cuisines made of chicken, mutton and fish, some of which has become hugely popular across the nation and globally like the Rogan Josh, Kashmiri Pulao or Phirni or Phiren.
The Kashmiri cuisine also prides itself for some exquisite vegetarian dishes mostly influenced by the traditional cuisines of the Kashmiri Pundit (Brahmin) community and the Mughlai cuisines.
Generally, Kashmiri cuisines, most of which are marked with ample use of saffron, turmeric, and yogurt are quite rich in flavour and mild in taste with curries that are light.
Spices like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and fennel which are generally considered to warm the body are used widely in different Kashmiri cuisines, while garlic and onion are not used much.
Dry fruits are also used extensively in different Kashmiri dishes, especially in preparing curries.
Due to its harsh geographic and climatic conditions dried fruits, vegetables, fish and meats formed an integral part of Kashmiri cuisine through the long winter season, that is changing today with fresh fruits and vegetables becoming more accessible all year round.
At Daana this weekend, you will be savouring some delicacies from the region that are traditionally considered to be winter foods. So, come join us and relish the flavours of this most scenic part of India.
Recipe of the week
Maharashtrian style tempered dal
For pressure cooking:
- ½ cup Toor dal or split pigeon peas
- 1 ½ cups Water
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon Jaggery
- 2 teaspoon Ghee
- ½ teaspoon Cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- a pinch Asafoetida
Pressure cooking the Dal
- Wash Toor dal under running cold water till water runs clear.
- Soak the dal in enough water for at least 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, discard soaking water.
- Add dal to the pressure cooker with 1 ½ cups of water and turmeric powder.
- Close the lid, put the weight on and cook it on medium heat for 3-4 whistles, open the lid once the pressure is released.
- Mash or hand blend the dal till smooth.
- Add salt and jaggery to the dal. The dal needs to be thin consistency but not too watery, add water to get the desired consistency.
- Turn the heat to medium and bring the dal to a simmer.
- Let it simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Making the tempering
- Heat the ghee or oil in a small frying pan.
- Once hot add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
As seeds sizzle, turn off the stove, wait for a few seconds.
Then add red chilli powder and asafoetida.
Immediately add the tempering to the dal. Stir well.
Serve hot with steamed rice.